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Lecture 10

CLA230 Lecture 10 Notes


Department
Classics
Course Code
CLA230H1
Professor
Dimitri Nakassis
Lecture
10

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CLA230 Lecture 10 Notes
Greek Colonization
- by 550BC, had colonies all over the Mediterranean, stretching from Asia
Minor in the east to Italy in the west
- culture influenced others in the area – Romans and Etruscans
- quote: “Godlike Nausithoos left and led a migration, and settled in Scheria,
far away from men who eat bread, and driven a wall about the city, and built
the houses, and made the temples of the gods, and allotted the holdings.”
- quote is perhaps an example of a Homeric colony
- descriptions of how colonies were formed – cities would send out people to
form a colony – will keep its ties with its mother city – example of Syracuse, a
colony of Corinth
- temples and walls were built quite early after a colony was founded
- sometimes it is possible to see allocations of land to settlers
- Megara – between Corinth and Athens
- colony – Megara Hyblaia – street plans survive from 650-625 B.C.
- street plans show an area with an agora
- surviving street plans of colonies were more regular than those of the mother
cities
Causes of Colonization
- idea of carrots vs. sticks
- positive and negative forces driving colonization
- example of wealth-seekers and opportunists vs. refugees and exiles
- perhaps land hunger was a cause
increasing population
famine
inheritance problems as land was split among sons for many
generations
political Disputes – being a citizen in a colony may have been
preferable to losing citizenship in the mother city
- trade, resources, etc. as causes – better access to metals, resources, slaves,
land, etc.
Cyrene
- colony established around 631 BC
- present-day Libya – mother city was Thera
- Akatiri was on Thera – was recolonized – Dorian colony
- Cyrene became a very successful city
- only source for the herb silphium – only grew in Cyrene and was used in
medicine and cooking
- silphium herb is now extinct – result of either over-harvesting or
desertification of the area
- presence of silphium – Cyrene became more powerful than the mother colony
- not uncommon – often it was the smaller poleis that sent out settlers because
of the lack of resources in their own city-state – Corinth was an exception
however
- colony of Cyrene was ruled by kings – King Arkesilas II of Cyrene in mid-6th
century B.C.
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- Pindar wrote two victory poems for king Arkeslias IV in chariot victory at
Delphi in 462 B.C.
- Pindar wrote poems for athletic heroes
- hero Battus was buried in the city – only heroes were buried within city walls
- in Pindar’s Pythian 5 – Battus is described to be civilizing Cyrene
- Herodotus wrote two foundation stories – one was told by the people of
Cyrene and the other by the people of Thera
- other fragmentary sources are present as well
- there is a 4th century B.C. inscription from Cyrene that tells the story
Theran Story
- told by Herodotus – what the Therans say
- consultation of King Grinnas – the oracle at Delphi – consulted “on other
matters”
- the Pythia – priestess of Apollo at Delphi
- oracle orders him to found a colony in Libya
- the location of Libya was unknown to them – therefore they ignored the
oracle
- result of ignoring the god Apollo – no rain on Thera seven years
- went back to the Oracle at Delphi – the Pythia again told them to colonize
Libya
- to determine where exactly Lybia was – ask resident aliens if they were from
Libya
- Corobius of Itanos – knew of the island of Platea which was next to Libya
- found Platea, an island off of Libya – Therans decided to send one of every
two brothers to Libya – selected by lot
- Battus was the expedition leader and becomes the king of the future colony
Cyrenean Story
- also told by Herodotus
- Etearchus – king of Oaxos
- King Etearchus had a daughter – Phronime
- wife/mother died – Etearchus remarried
- stepmother falsely accuses Phronime
- Etearchus finds a merchant – swears an oath to do his bidding – orders him to
take his daughter to sea and drown her
- merchant throws her in the ocean – pulled her back out
- Phronime becomes a concubine and child was born – named Battus
- Battus means “the stammerer” – also a Libyan word for king
- Battus goes to the Delphan oracle to fix his speech impediment – the Pythia
tells him to colonise Libya and refuses to say anything else
- attempt to found a settlement – however, Battus does not have the resources
to succeeed
- tries to return to Thera after his failure – not allowed back so they return to
Platea and create a settlement on the island
Conclusions
- failure of the Platea settlement
- Azirir – six years, then relocated to Irasa
- Cyrenean invitation for settlers under king Battus II Eudaimon in the late 6th
century B.C.
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